South Carolina chefs know the goodness of fresh, local ingredients - and they want you to, as well. Columbia offers second-to-none, farm-to-table dining that shows off locally grown, milled and raised products to delicious advantage.
Here are some suggestions for experiencing dishes with ingredients that traveled just miles from the fields to your fork.
Motor Supply Co. Bistro
What it's known for: A must-eat in Columbia's Congaree Vista, Motor Supply Co. Bistro is named for the beautifully restored building's original function - supplying motor parts to South Carolina and surrounding states. Guests will appreciate the farm-to-table menu that changes daily for an upscale dining experience that showcases Chef Wesley Fulmer's seasonally inspired dishes.
Style: Farm-to-table, dinner, eclectic
Address: 920 Gervais St., Columbia
What it's known for: Wood-fired dishes built upon seasonal ingredients found close to home. Heritage Fields Farms in Irmo, Freshly Grown Farms in Columbia and Berry Hill Farm in Lexington are a few of the go-to local farms Tazza Kitchen supports. This is true farm-to-fork dining, and the freshness is evident with each bite.
Style: Farm-to-table, lunch, dinner, eclectic
Address: 4840 Forest Drive, Columbia
What it's known for: Opened in 2019 in the historic Hennessy's building on Main Street, Hendrix is a gem on the farm-to-table food scene offering chef-inspired dishes with fun twists on classic flavors. With a focus on quality and technique, the cuisine and cocktails are fresh, creative and delicious. Be sure to make it up to the rooftop bar to enjoy a fantastic view of downtown Columbia.
Style: Sustainable, locally-sourced scratch kitchen, modern American, dinner, cocktails, brunch
Address: 1649 Main St., Columbia
What it's known for: Driven by an appreciation for South Carolina's dedicated farmers and millers, Terra offers a menu designed with simplicity and authenticity in mind. Chef Mike Davis is proud of Terra's strong "field-to-table" focus and provides an updated list of local suppliers for the dining public. Bonus: The dining experience at Terra comes with great views of the Columbia skyline from both the dining room and patio.
Style: Farm-to-table, dinner, Distinguished Restaurant of North America
Address: 100 State St., West Columbia
The Root Cellar
What it's known for: Pub plates with Southern flair served amid a warm, country-kitchen vibe. Partnerships with local purveyors mean the Root Cellar is regularly cooking up delicious dishes with true South Carolina flavors. From locally sourced beef to freshly picked veggies, the Root Cellar embodies the farm-to-table movement and helps sustains local growers. This is pub food taken to a higher, fresher level.
What it's known for: The Spotted Salamander is owned and operated by 2019 South Carolina Chef Ambassador Jessica Shillato, a classically trained chef who also snagged a 2023 James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef Southeast. With varied, seasonal menus built upon local ingredients, you won't find a better lunch spot in downtown Columbia. The small plate specials are always worth a try, and you'd be remiss to deny yourself a sampling of the deviled eggs of the day and a slice of crack pie.
What it's known for: The War Mouth offers some of South Carolina's most time-honored dishes: whole-hog barbecue slowly cooked over hardwood embers, Carolina Gold rice, old-fashioned hash, smoked ribs, catfish stew, cornbread, deviled eggs, boiled peanuts and more. The focus on local produce and other farm-fresh ingredients goes into so many dishes on the menu, be it beef, seafood, pork, poultry or a lovely salad. In fine weather, enhance your local dining experience by requesting a table in the open garages for a view of the South Carolina State House.